When Plans Fall Short

Oct 25, 2016, Written by Sue Miley


Sometimes I put together aggressive plans.  Maybe because that day I had a lot of energy or maybe I felt really positive about all of the things happening in my business.  Sometimes the plan leads to the results we are looking for.  Other times they don’t.

The plans fall short.

What do we do when our plan falls short?

The one thing that most people do, that we should absolutely NOT do, is ignore the results.  You know, if we pretend we never had a plan, it won’t feel like a stabbing pain in our heart when we look at the sales or profits at the end of the month.  We won’t hide our head in shame if the NEVER-TO-SPEAK-OF PLAN to get 10,000 emails on our list results in less than 100.

Yes, it is disappointing when plans fall short.

Evaluate When Plans Fall Short

But, there is also much to learn and much to gain from confronting the SORRY PLAN directly.  Here is how we can evaluate our plans that fall short:

  1. Evaluate if the plan itself was complete, well-communicated, timely, and relevant to your goals.
  2. Evaluate whether you executed the plan well.
    • Did you execute everything laid out in the plan?
    • Did you execute based on the timeline planned?
    • Did you execute well – the best people, working hard, and being creative?
  3. Did certain things in the plan work better than others?
  4. How short were the results?  Were you way off or were some goals achieved?

This evaluation is a key component to planning and results.

As I work with clients I see the disappointment and shame associated with missing goals and poor execution of plans.  It is in our nature to hide from things when we are ashamed.  We come by this honestly.  Look at Adam and Eve after they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  They immediately hid their nakedness.

And isn’t that how we feel when we have the best laid plans that don’t work?  We feel naked and exposed and want to hide.

Adjust When Plans Fall Short

What should we do when plans fall short?

After we evaluate whether or not it was the plan or the execution, we need to move forward boldly.  You can’t move your business forward if you are hiding.

  • If the goal and the plan are still viable, re-initiate the plan and hold the team accountable to excellent execution.
  • If the goal is the same but the plan didn’t work, even executed well, adjust the plan and re-initiate.
  • If you have great plans that are well executed but still slightly missed the goal, then it may be time to put in more realistic goals.  But, this should not be the first line of change.

No Excuses When Plans Fall Short

You don’t have to hide from me.  I am an entrepreneur, too.  Sometimes I as the business owner lose focus.  I cause the distraction away from the execution of the plan because a new shinier apple came into my view.  That happens.  It is part of my DNA.  But I need to step up and take responsibility.  If your goal is to have plans that work, you don’t want to give yourself an excuse.  “It is part of my DNA,” is not an excuse.  I need to still go back and adjust and re-initiate the plans.

Learn When Plans Fall Short

In every instance when plans fall short, there is great learning.  Smart business owners want to capture the learning.  They want to communicate the issues they learn from the plan evaluation so that everyone can gain the learning.  We need to make sure the learning is included in our new plans.

We will all have plans that fall short.  The difference in those who are successful and those who are not is what you do next.

Don’t ignore.  Don’t hide in shame.  Don’t make excuses.

Instead, be proactive; evaluate, adjust, take responsibility, and learn.  If you follow this path, I can assure you the future will have less plans that fall short.

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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